Legalise medical marijuana, Penang PKR rep tells Putrajaya

Ong suggested that planting marijuana could also become another source of revenue for Malaysia. — AFP pic
Ong suggested that planting marijuana could also become another source of revenue for Malaysia. — AFP pic

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 18 — Putrajaya should consider legalising marijuana for medical use especially for cancer patients, PKR’s Kebun Bunga assemblyman Jason Ong Khan Lee said today.

He said more people are diagnosed with cancer every year while the National Cancer Society of Malaysia estimated that one in four Malaysians develop cancer by the time they are 75 years old.

“The use of marijuana to treat cancer symptoms dates back at least 3,000 years, according to the National Institute of Cancer in the United States of America,” Ong said in a statement issued today.

He believes that the use of cannabinoids, an active compound found in marijuana, helps to relieve pain, spasms, inflammation and convulsions.

He said countries like Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom have either legalised or started the process to explore allowing medical marijuana.

Malaysia can learn from these countries and the outcome of their approved usage, before implementing this in our country, he added.

“However, more research and studies are needed before any medical marijuana is approved for use so that it will not be open to substance abuse,” he said.

He said a neighbouring country, Thailand, has also expressed interest to legalise research on the effects of marijuana on humans.

“While it is true that Malaysia should not be too far behind, we should also proceed with care and ensure that any changes made are within the Malaysian context,” he said.

He believes that decriminalising marijuana is the next logical step in laws pertaining to healthcare.

He suggested that planting marijuana could also become another source of revenue for our country.

“As opposed to synthetic drugs, marijuana, when administered properly, is widely known to be a source of natural cure with medicinal values,” he said.

Ong believes that cannabis oil and marijuana are currently available to cancer patients through unregulated sources.

“We should study this and look into the use of cannabis oil as cancer pain relief treatment instead of resorting to opiate based synthetic drugs which cause all sorts of side effects,” he said.

The lawyer said under Malaysia’s Dangerous Drug Act 1952, only 400 grams of marijuana can be considered as drug trafficking which carries a death sentence.

“At the very least, we have to reclassify cannabis as legal for controlled use, and revisit cannabis-related cases to modify the charges and judgments,” he said.

He also called for the Dangerous Drug Act 1952 to be revised.

He then referred to the case of 29-year-old Muhammad Lukman who was sentenced to death under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for drug trafficking in medicinal cannabis oil.

He commended Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for asking the guilty verdict to be reviewed and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar for seeking a pardon for Muhammad Lukman.

He said Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar is also seeking to reform the laws governing medical marijuana.

“I feel obliged, in my capacity as a lawyer and a state assemblyman, to support this move as the intention for Muhammad Lukman being in possession of the said marijuana was purely for medical purposes and not for recreational use,” he said.

He said there is still much to learn about medical marijuana and the benefits which might outweigh its risks.

“Since legalising this currently illegal drug is a great possibility in the future, let us start with showing compassion and humanity towards Muhammad Lukman as he deserves clemency,” he suggested.

Countries such as Switzerland, Russia and Uruguay have decriminalised marijuana while Canada recently legalised recreational marijuana.

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